OMA’s first cultural building for California has been revealed, as the firm provided a first look at the forthcoming Audrey Irmas Pavilion in Los Angeles, a cultural center for the neighboring Wilshire Boulevard Temple. OMA New York was commissioned for the project after winning a design contest in 2015, and the completed cultural center will sit next to, and dialogue with, L.A.'s oldest synagogue. The historic Wilshire Boulevard Temple was built in 1929 in the Byzantine-Revival style, and deference to the institution informed the Audrey Irmas Pavilion’s design. The serious slope on the building’s west façade will push it away from the existing temple, while it also leans south and away from a historic school. Located on an intersection, the dramatic forces that influenced the building’s orientation have also resulted in the pavilion “reaching out” to Wilshire Boulevard. “We wanted to focus on communicating the energy of gathering and exchange,” said lead designer Shohei Shigematsu in a statement. “The pavilion is an active gesture, shaped by respectful moves away from the surrounding historic buildings, reaching out onto Wilshire Boulevard to create a new presence. Within the building, a series of interconnected meeting spaces at multiple scales provide ultimate flexibility for assembly while maintaining visual connections that establish outdoor indoor porosity and moments of surprise encounters.” The pavilion will hold three distinct gathering spaces throughout, including a main event space, smaller multi-purpose room, and a sunken garden. Each of the interior spaces will be stacked vertically and arranged to give visitors specifically framed views, while remaining interlinked. The scattered openings across the pavilion’s hexagonal façade are meant to filter light to each gathering space while also reorienting guests to the rest of the campus. “Audrey Irmas Pavilion, designed by OMA—the firm’s first cultural building in California—will offer an irresistible invitation to gather, celebrate, learn and reach out to others,” said Rabbi Steve Leder in a statement. “In a city so large and diverse, we need community, and we need inspiring, welcoming places. Los Angeles deserves a modern masterpiece devoted to bringing people together, located in the heart of the city’s most diverse neighborhood. We are very proud that Wilshire Boulevard Temple will be a vital part of a cultural, religious and socially conscious conversation that is defining 21st Century Los Angeles.” The Audrey Irmas Pavilion is named after philanthropist Audrey Irmas, who spearheaded the capital campaign for the project in 2015 with a $30 million donation. The L.A.-based Studio-MLA will be serving as the project's landscape architect, while Gruen Associates are cited as the executive architect. OMA expects to break ground on the center this year, with plans to open in 2020.
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With 800 million active users and 95 million photos and videos shared each day, Instagram is affecting our visual perception like no other platform. Users distribute literally millions of photos, spreading trends, popularizing places, and ultimately, influencing built and designed environments. Although it is still early for major buildings to outwardly reflect Instagram’s impact, architecture is rapidly becoming saturated from the inside out. Philippe Maidenberg, known for his interior work in hotels across Paris and the UK, including the Holiday House London, is very aware of how social media has altered clients’ expectations. “Clients have shifted from thinking about design to envisioning new ways of life,” he explained. “Hotel owners want public spaces that are more alive and more comfortable than ever before; office owners want spaces that look like hotels. The standards are getting higher and higher for the greater good.” In New York, firms like Paperwhite Studio and Home Studios have made veritable reputations from crafting “Instagrammable interiors” for restaurants such as Jack’s Wife Freda, Cha Cha Matcha (Paperwhite), and Elsa, Ramona, Sisters, and The Spaniard (Home Studios). Rich, memorable colors, personal touches—down to the custom sugar packets—and dramatic moments such as sweeping brass lamps and neon signs all apparently contribute to the restaurants’ Instagram popularity. Maidenberg believes the portmanteau “Instagrammable” merely means photogenic: “In reality, every space inside a project has to be ‘Instagrammable.’ There is a similar way of thinking among architects, directors, and photographers. On the top of their minds, they’re always considering, ‘What will visitors see when they see the building? When they go inside the building? How can we surprise them?’” Obviously, the basic notion of creating photogenic architecture is not new. It can almost be simplified to a 21st-century version of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown’s “ducks” versus “decorated sheds” in Learning From Las Vegas. But although there are definite parallels to postmodernism replacing modernism and maximalism writ large in pastel whimsy replacing high-minded minimalism, new equivalent definitions of ducks and decorated sheds remain murky. Somewhere in this vague category is the plethora of “museums” that opened in 2017. More pop-up galleries than actual museums, these repositories of vibrant mise-en-scènes provide opportunities for snap-happy visitors to create totally next-level selfies to share with their friends. The most notable are the Museum of Ice Cream (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Miami), the Color Factory (San Francisco), and 29 Rooms (Los Angeles and Brooklyn). And by notable, we mean that going up against museums such as the Louvre, the Tate Modern, and the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Ice Cream landed the tenth spot on Instagram’s “Most Instagrammed Museums” list in 2017, and its Los Angeles location alone claimed the sixth top spot in “Most Instagrammed Museums in the U.S.” Legitimate museums have taken note, crafting photo-worthy installations and creating hashtags to promote sharing across social media. “It’s a level of feedback that we have never really had before,” said Andrea Lipps, assistant curator of contemporary design at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. “People do use the hashtags, and then we notice the trends of where people are taking these photos and how they are accessing the information and what they are interested in. It’s become a really valuable tool.” But those whose work is on display may see it differently. Brooklyn-based artist and designer Sebastian Errazuriz believes that the best name for these spaces and our new era of obsessive image sharing is “prop art.” “It is very disappointing to see work being misused as a prop for a self-portrait because when that happens, it stops being seen,” Errazuriz said. “And when more content is created just to be shared and to function as a prop, more people will see that as successful content to create and will emulate it.” At the same time, Errazuriz learned to harness the power of Instagram early when he created the entrance installation for the Collective Design Fair in 2013: a series of box fans that had “Blow Me” written across them in neon. “The ‘Blow Me’ fan, if you see it just by itself, is a funny association that is provocative and sexual in nature. But, when I get commissioned to design something like an entry piece in an art fair, I am essentially being told, ‘Go, Sebastian, do that thing you do, do the monkey dance, show me something impressive.’ So, in this case, I made a fan that literally blows them away. It takes a lot of balls for the artist to say ‘blow me,’ and it takes a lot of balls for the client to tell everyone to ‘blow me.’ Then, it has the neon pink which is the cliché of every art fair and was designed as a square precisely to be as Instagrammable as possible. It generated more press than the whole fair combined; and I did the monkey dance and it undermined the effects of the fair.… It was all about distilling enormous amount of stuff in one thing.” Errazuriz was also concerned about the implications of the Snapchat x Jeff Koons Balloon Dog in Central Park. “There is a very real risk of corporations like Snapchat taking over the digital art space and dictating new representations of what art is, like Jeff Koons’s Balloon Dog,” Errazuriz said. “So when I saw that, everyone in my studio stopped what we were doing and in 24 hours managed to recreate an exact replica of the dog, tagged it with graffiti, uploaded it, geotagged it to the same destination, submitted it to Snapchat, and sent out the press release. I think it generated a lot of interesting articles about public space and the notion of virtual vandalizing.” This is the inherent irony in Instagram: Even as designers and architects decry its influence, they are aware that they rely on it. Consider OMA: When it updated its website in 2014, the firm opted to change its landing page to an Instagram feed with software that picked up the geotagged images in a certain perimeter around OMA’s buildings and projects. “We’ve discovered that amateur pictures tell a different story,” said OMA partner Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli. “There are a lot of unexpected surprises and beautiful moments that are not as present in staged photography.” Shifting the power of perspective to boundless viewers creates possibilities, but also engenders limitations. The art, design, and fashion worlds have already begun to chafe against the effects of shortened trend cycles, altered client demands, and distorted design priorities. Will architecture follow suit? #maybe.
Prada has thrown its 2018 fall menswear collection back to the 90’s, with a fashion show in Milan that put utilitarian black nylon front and center. Rem Koolhaas, Herzog & de Meuron, French designers Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, and German industrial designer Konstantin Grcic were all invited to interpret the material through an industrial lens to create a unique item for the collection. Fashion designer Miuccia Prada’s rise to fame was built on black nylon in 1984; in weaving nylon, typically used for packaging at the time and not clothing, into the landmark luxury “Vela” bag, Prada transformed the luxury brand into a contemporary clothing company. The same waterproof “Pocone” nylon used in the original Vela bag was on full display yesterday at Prada’s preview of its Autumn Winter 2018 menswear collection in Milan. Instead of flash or color, the focus was on form and usage, and the menswear fashion week show was appropriately staged in an industrial warehouse with a Prada twist. The storage facility in Viale Ortles, Milan, was plastered with throwbacks to Prada’s past and lit with blues, reds and purples by AMO, the research and branding studio of OMA. This isn’t the first time AMO has worked with Prada, as they also designed Prada’s 2017 Spring/Summer venue. OMA founding principal Rem Koolhaas contributed a backwards backpack to the show, designing a black nylon pack meant to be worn on the front of the body. The boxy container is meant to be first and foremost accessible, as Koolhaas notes that the convenience of a backpack is negated by having to take it off to access. “The shape of the backpack has the convenience of flexibility, the location–the back–the huge inconvenience that it is fundamentally inaccessible to the wearer,” Koolhaas told Prada. In the same way the Vela bag advanced the backpack through material, Koolhaas’s pack was meant to be the next step forward in the bag’s shape. Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron chose to focus on the clothing side, designing a shirt patterned with what looks like statements in English, but reveals itself to be gibberish upon closer examination. Calling language useless, Herzog & de Meuron reduced words to nothing more than ornamentation as a commentary on the way untrue information has saturated our daily lives. “It has lost its seductive power. There is nothing new, nothing critical, nothing true in language that cannot be turned into its opposite and claimed to be equally true. Language has become an empty vehicle of information,” reads Herzog & de Meuron’s statement to Prada. OMA and Koolhaas have had a longstanding partnership with Prada, collaborating on everything from a 120,000-square-foot arts complex in Milan, to the Prada “Epicenter” in New York. All of Prada’s 2018 Autumn/Winter menswear collection can be found here.
Office for Metropolitan Architecture's (OMA) founding principal Rem Koolhaas and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum are teaming up to explore the earth's changing non-urban areas in an upcoming exhibition. Koolhaas, along with AMO, the OMA think tank, jettisons the city to speculate on the future of the countryside, an arguably less sexy topic for architects who love their Tokyos and Rios. By interrogating changing rural areas today, the exhibition, provisionally titled Countryside: Future of the World, will explore the effect of migration, automation and AI, radical politics, and ecological change on less-populated regions worldwide. “The fact that more than 50 percent of the world’s population now lives in cities has become an excuse to ignore the countryside,” said Koolhaas in a press release. “I have long been fascinated by the transformation of the city, but since looking at the countryside more closely in recent years, I have been surprised by the intensity of change taking place there. The story of this transformation is largely untold, and it is particularly meaningful to present it in one of the world’s great museums in one of the world’s densest cities.” The 50 percent figure Koolhaas cites is one of those urban myths that won't die, a tired United Nations statistic drawn from definitions of "city" that vary wildly from country to country. Nevertheless, Countryside builds on work current work at AMO, as well as student work at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The Guggenheim will announce further details on the exhibition, which is slated to open in fall 2019, as they become available.
Responding to recent articles by the New York Post and Artnet, performance artist Marina Abramovic spoke out over accusations that the her institute had misused funds for the now-cancelled Marina Abramovic Institute (MAI) building in Hudson, New York. Abramovic had announced the cancellation of the OMA-designed performance art space, citing that the cost had grown to $31 million. In a press release sent this morning, Abramovic broke down where the money from her Kickstarter had gone. She stated that the $661,452 she raised on Kickstarter, minus the crowdfunding platform's administrative fee, left her with $596,667. She also specified that “the Kickstarter was created to fund schematic designs by OMA New York for the building in Hudson, NY." The press release provided a list of costs and detailed how nearly a million dollars had gone to OMA for design fees and related services, with the firm writing off $142,167 as a donation. Abramovic revealed that OMA had billed her $655,167.10 for designing the new MAI building, with an added $354,502.67 in consultant fees, and $102,392.83 for the owner’s representative. Abramovic also clarified that any other money that had gone towards the project was paid for out of pocket, including over a million dollars for purchasing and renovating the existing building. In a recent interview with Vulture about the fate of the MAI, Abramovic explained that the cost of the renovation had grown to astronomical levels, including $700,000 for asbestos abatement alone. As for those Kickstarter backers who never received their awards? “[…] The only people that did not receive their rewards are the ones that did not respond to our requests for information. We welcome those backers that did not receive what they deserved to contact the institute directly via Kickstarter or on our website,” said Abramovic. True to Abramovic's performance-oriented aesthetic, the rewards were largely ephemeral; they ranged from a hug at the one dollar level to a soup-cooking session with the artist for $10,000 backers.
Update: Marina Abramovic responded to the allegations reported in this article. That response is available here. After failing to meet its $31 million funding goal, performance artist Marina Abramovic recently announced the cancellation of her Hudson, New York-based Marina Abramović Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art (MAI). Designed by OMA partners Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas, the 33,000-square-foot space would have led visitors through guided tours of the experimental performances that Abramovic is famous for. Originally estimated at $8 million, the project’s costs ballooned over the years to $31 million, according to the New York Post. Speaking at London’s Serpentine Sackler Gallery in October, Abramovic conceded that the project had grown too expensive to proceed with. “I, as a performance artist, could never raise $31 million unless some amazing guy from the Emirates [came forward] or some Russian who just wrote a cheque because he believed in me. But in real life, that doesn’t happen,” she said. With the cancellation of the MAI, questions have arisen over the $2.2 million already raised for the project. After a successful 2013 Kickstarter campaign raised $660,000, the artist pulled in another $1.5 million through private donations. According to the Post, a spokesperson for Abramovic has stated that any money raised has been paid to OMA. “The funds were raised not for the renovation itself but specifically for the schematics and the feasibility study,” the spokesperson said. Although the Kickstarter description confirms the spokesperson’s statement, several backers questioned whether they had thrown their money away, while others complained that they had never received their rewards for donating. “Fraud. I was supposed to receive a signed copy of the Abromovic Methods Exclusives DVD for $200 pledge back in 2013, and am still waiting for it. mised rewards,” said Andre Manukyan on the project’s comments page. Abramovic had hoped that the arts space, unveiled in 2012, would capture the ephemeral, transitive nature of performance art while still allowing visitors to engage with the building around them. Floor plans released by OMA show several distinct programmatic elements, including a fitness center, library, a learning center, offices and classrooms all situated around a 650-seat central performance space. Ambitious and wide-ranging in scope, the arts center would have mandated a minimum of six-hour “hard-core performance art” tours, where visitors would have surrendered their cellphones and worn white frocks while inside the building. OMA had also been set to design custom fixtures and furniture for the facility, including padded wheelchairs so that staff could ferry tired guests from one room to another. Built in 1929, the vacant theater in Hudson is owned by Abramovic and would have retained the original brick facade and column-flanked entryway under OMA’s proposal.Unused and abandoned, the former community theater now sits unmaintained. Abramovic has told the Post that the building would be put up for sale, with a portion of the proceeds going towards paying off the unpaid school taxes the artist owes for the property.
The New Museum has selected OMA to design a new building right next to its current home on the Bowery. Rem Koolhaas and Shohei Shigematsu are designing the expansion at 231 Bowery, a museum–owned property that currently houses an incubator program and private artist lofts. The building, funded through an $85 million capital campaign, will be integrated into the museum's current home, a structure by SANAA that opened in 2007. Despite authoring Delirious New York, Koolhaas will just now be designing his first public building in the city. Set to break ground in 2019, the addition will boost the museum's floor space by 50,000 square feet. The extra room will accommodate more galleries, improve circulation, and add "flexible space" for signature programming like IdeasCity, NEW INC, and Rhizome, as well as other events. “Having collaborated with Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa on a number of projects in Europe, it is a real honor to stand alongside their great work of architecture, one of my favorites in the city," said OMA Founding Principal Rem Koolhaas, in a prepared statement. “I am honored to be awarded this project in the city perhaps most central to OMA's philosophy, and am thrilled to work with an institution that deeply values the practices of creative forward-thinkers," added Shohei Shigematsu, partner and leader of OMA's New York office. "As a Japanese architect, I am very happy to engage in a unique dialogue with SANAA and build alongside one of their seminal works.” Founded in 1977, the museum is the only institution in the city that exclusively displays contemporary art. It announced plans to grow its footprint back in May 2016, and since then, the museum has raised more than half the funds it needs to pay for the expansion. At that time, it said 231 Bowery would not be demolished. The Architect's Newspaper (AN) reached out to the New Museum to get a date for the design unveiling, and find out whether the museum plans to keep the current building, which houses NEW INC as well as artist live/work spaces. A spokesperson said design development will take eight months and details will be shared at the end of the process.
At The Architect’s Newspaper, we’re plain addicted to Instagram. Sure, we love seeing Brutalist concrete through “Inkwell” or “Ludwig” filters, but there’s also no better place to see where architects are getting their inspiration, how they’re documenting the built environment, and where they’ve traveled of late. Below, we bring you some of the best Instagrams of this past week! (Also, don’t forget to check out our Instagram account here.) It was a busy weekend in New York. In Sara D. Roosevelt Park on Saturday morning, the New Museum's latest iteration of IdeasCity kicked off with a host of temporary wooden structures hosting keynotes by speakers like Trevor Paglen, who lectured on visual recognition technologies. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZG5fWFhG4W/?taken-by=ideascity Later, on Saturday night, Storefront for Art and Architecture opened their new exhibit Souvenirs: New York Icons. More than 59 artists, architects, and designers were asked to create souvenirs for each of the city's community districts. It was so crowded we had to escape through the Holl in the wall. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZTw_02nC1c/?taken-by=oma.eu Across the pond, OMA posted renderings of their designs for Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, clutch the pearls. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZQy_0sHBIt/?taken-by=3xn_gxn Danish firm 3XN demonstrated how their new children's hospital design was inspired by the movement of two hands opening. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZTYEh-AjFr/?taken-by=ekeneijeoma Artist Ekene Ijeoma announced he had created a new sculpture focusing on New York's immigrant community while reposting another sculpture we wrote about a while back that mapped out where low-wage workers can afford the rent, essentially forming islands of affordability. Still very relevant. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZNkVlflw7v/?taken-by=adjaye_visual_sketchbook We don't have favorites, but our perennial fave Sir David Adjaye has the best feed of all. He recently posted from the Aalto University in Finland—a beautiful little chapel by Hiekki and Kaija Siren from 1957. Take that, Louisiana Museum (1958). https://www.instagram.com/p/BZOy-16HlJf/?taken-by=exhibitcolumbus Jetting seamlessly back to rural Indiana, Exhibit Columbus highlighted a contemporary wigwam made of copper scales by Chris Cornelius of studio:indigenous. That's it for today, hashtag archilovers and quote-on-quote gallerinas. See you next week for more drama.
In Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, one of the most interesting places described is Thekla, a city consisting entirely of endless construction—nothing but cranes, pulleys, and scaffolding. If you ask Thekla's residents why its construction is taking so long, they "continue hoisting sacks, lowering leaded strings, moving long brushes up and down, as they answer, 'So that its destruction cannot begin.' And if asked whether they fear that, once the scaffolding is removed, the city may begin to crumble and fall to pieces, they add hastily, in a whisper, 'Not only the city.'" In Calvino's work, scaffolding is a metaphor for progress without substance—interminable development as a way to create meaning as a species. Without it, jobs disappear, the landscape disappears, even meaning itself disappears. In New York City, scaffolding is as ubiquitous a part of the landscape as the buildings it sheathes, moving across neighborhoods like an urban kudzu. An estimated 280 miles of it stretch across the city at any given moment. In an upcoming exhibit at the Center for Architecture, scaffolding as a typology—with all its vernacular potential and industrial usage—is given a thorough examination. Is it a building? Not entirely, although it emulates buildings and can serve as a shelter. Is it an exoskeleton or an endoskeleton? It can be both, thrown up to restore interiors or panel up facades. As the exhibit explores, scaffolding is a flexible architecture, a nuisance to some , an aesthetic choice to others (for instance, Doug and Mike Starn), temporary or permanent, modular ... the list goes on. In this spirit, the Center for Architecture's upcoming exhibit Scaffolding will include case studies of the support structure's functions around the globe. The show's curator, Greg Barton, created a visual history of its development as a technology, from the wooden beams and bamboo of an earlier era to the steel and aluminum of today. Actual scaffolding designed by Shohei Shigematsu of OMA will be installed throughout the gallery space and main atrium. OMA also created a system of periscopes and mirrors scattered throughout the installation, allowing viewers to peer into separate parts of the gallery.The show's opening will kick off a series of public programs through December, examining scaffolding as a framework for social engagement as well as its use in theater and emergency relief. Scaffolding is on view at the Center for Architecture from October 2, 2017–January 18, 2018. There will be an opening reception Monday, October 2, from 6:00–8:00 p.m. More information can be found here.
“‘Scaffolding' functions as a noun and verb, object and process,” Barton said in a statement about the show. “It is commonly invoked as a powerful metaphor by many disciplines due to its supportive role and adaptive qualities.”
Today social media giant Facebook announced it had tapped international firm OMA to master plan its Willow Campus, a mixed-use neighborhood that will be located next to the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Shohei Shigematsu, the partner who helms OMA's New York office, will lead the design. “It’s exciting to collaborate with Facebook, whose innovation in networking and social media extends to urban ambitions for connectivity in the Bay Area," said Shigematsu in a release. "The Willow Campus masterplan creates a sense of place with diverse programming that responds to the needs of the Menlo Park community. The site has the potential to impact the future of regional transportation, housing, and environment." Facebook first moved to Menlo Park in 2011, with Frank Gehry designing a major 434,000-square-foot expansion a few years later. In terms of this latest round, said John Tenanes, Facebook's VP of global faculties and real estate, "our goal for the Willow Campus is to create an integrated, mixed-use village that will provide much needed services, housing, and transit solutions as well as office space. Part of our vision is to create a neighborhood center that provides long-needed community services. We plan to build 125,000 square feet of new retail space, including a grocery store, pharmacy, and additional community-facing retail." Housing and regional transportation will both figure prominently into this master plan. Tenanes said that this development will see 1,500 units of housing built, with 15 percent listed at below market rates. Having housing on site will hopefully reduce traffic, he continued, while also adding that "Willow Campus will be an opportunity to catalyze regional transit investment by providing planned density sufficient to support new east-west connections and a future transit center. We’re investing tens of millions of dollars to improve US101." (As Tenanes noted in the press release, this isn't Facebook's first foray into affordable housing.) Tenanes stated that Facebook and OMA will file a plan with the City of Menlo Park this month. From there, they will "begin more formal conversations with local government officials and community organizations over the course of the review process, which we expect to last approximately two years." He estimates construction will occur in several phases, with "the first to include the grocery, retail, housing and office completed in early 2021, and subsequent phases will take two years each to complete."
Why do so many architects use Alexander Calder sculptures in their renderings, even when the works have nothing to do with the institution or project depicted? The Calder Foundation has been tracking this phenomenon, and the results are featured in the slideshow above. A new exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York explores mobiles—kinetic sculptures in which carefully balanced components reveal their own unique systems of movement—created by American sculptor Alexander Calder from 1930 until 1968, eight years before his death. Running through October 23, the exhibition features almost 40 sculptures, including three that served as models for possible architectural commissions. In addition, Alexander S. C. Rower, who is the sculptor’s grandson and head of the Calder Foundation, will bring one of three motorized maquettes Calder created as proposals for the 1939 New York World’s Fair to the Whitney later this summer for a temporary viewing and activation.Other Calder works on display that were designed for architectural projects include Octopus and The Helices, both made in 1944 as part of a series of bronze works Calder envisioned as 40-foot monuments and created for an International Style architectural project proposed by Wallace K. Harrison. Interestingly, more recently, many well-established architects have used Calder’s works to illustrate renderings of their own designs, often without the Calder Foundation’s permission. OMA in particular apparently finds Calder’s sculptures perfect for its projects: It used his 1973 Crinkly with a Red Disc, actually in the collection of the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, in Germany, in its rendering of the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow. The rendering for the firm’s Park Grove condos in Miami pilfered Calder’s 1973 Flamingo, which actually sits in Federal Plaza in Chicago, while the rendering for 11th Street Bridge Park in Washington, D.C., by OMA and OLIN, features the same sculpture. Other architectural firms that favor Calder’s works in their renderings include Ateliers Jean Nouvel, whose 53 W. 53rd Street project in Manhattan features Calder’s 1961 Sumac, actually in a private collection. Shigeru Ban Architects used Calder’s 1971 The Eagle, now at the Seattle Art Museum, and his 1972 Trepied rouge et noir in renderings for, respectively, the Tainan Museum of Fine Arts in Taiwan and Mt. Fuji Shizuoka Airport in Japan. Renzo Piano Building Workshop (which designed The Whitney’s current home in Manhattan’s meatpacking district), Diller Scofidio + Renfro, SOM, and Studio Libeskind also find the display of Calder’s works an attractive way to promote their concepts. Calder’s works reside today in some major venues: In addition to the sculptures in Federal Plaza in Chicago and at the Seattle Art Museum, the home of his Five Swords is Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, N.Y. Asked about contemporary architects’ practice of borrowing—to put it politely—images of Calder’s works to illustrate their designs, Rower said that during the artist’s lifetime, Calder was friendly with Mies van der Rohe, Josep Lluís Sert, Le Corbusier, Marcel Breuer and Wallace K. Harrison, and “frenemies” with Frank Lloyd Wright. As the first artist commissioned to make a public sculpture by the General Services Administration, he said Calder was “the obvious go-to for architects designing new buildings or plazas. Given this history, it comes as no surprise to me that, even today, he is the most prolific artist depicted in architectural renderings. His iconic vocabulary is instantly recognizable; thus, contemporary architects use his imagery to suggest the superior qualities of their projects.” “The genius of Calder’s work,” Rower added, “is that it transforms space—and our experience of it—in real time. While his great invention, the mobile, does this in an overt way—performing in front of us and literally embodying movement—Calder’s stabiles (stationary sculptures) imply movement and affect how we encounter surrounding plazas, facades or even natural landscapes. Architects intuitively understand that effect, and are excited by the prospect of how a Calder sculpture can deepen the experience of whatever space they are designing.” “As long as it’s done in a respectful way,” Rower admitted that rendering actual Calder works that have not been manipulated “is gratifying. I’m interested in Calder’s works in architectural mock-ups—allowing me to imagine his sculptures in many different settings and contexts. And it’s rewarding that Calder remains a favorite amongst architects.”
The start of a new memorial project for assassinated U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy at Washington D.C.’s RFK Stadium was announced by the District of Columbia's Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, the senator’s family members, and Events DC, on May 17. The memorial project is part of an overall plan for the RFK Stadium complex, a $500 million project spearheaded by New York City–based OMA. The proposal involves demolishing the current stadium and its parking lots, transforming the site into a 350,000-square-foot recreation and sports complex complete with three ball fields and a 47,000-square-foot market selling groceries. The memorial will honor the late senator, serving “as a place of remembrance and a place of teaching and practicing the civil rights and equality ideals Robert F. Kennedy championed,” Events DC said in a statement to The Washington Post. The 190-acre site sits on federal government land and will be tied to neighboring Kingman Island and the River Terrace neighborhood by three new pedestrian bridges. Events DC, the city’s official convention and sports authority, will be funding half of the project while city, hotel tax revenue, and team leases will cover the rest. “On behalf of my family, we are delighted… to begin this journey… in tribute to my late grandfather,” Maeve Kennedy McKean, the senator’s granddaughter said in the Events DC statement. “My grandfather lived his life every day in the service of others.” Officials hope that the redevelopment of the new stadium site and the memorial will begin and finish over the next five to seven years, according to Events DC. The D.C. United soccer club currently occupies the stadium and will continue to do so for another year, until the new BIG-designed stadium is completed.